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Peter Andre, Spencer Matthews And Harry Judd Team Up To Present New Thomas The Tank Engine Stories For 75th Anniversary

27 February 2020

Three of the nation’s favourite celebrity dads, Peter Andre, Spencer Matthews and Harry Judd have teamed up to deliver a unique digital story showcase, “Reading with Friends,” to mark the start of the 75th anniversary celebrations of Thomas & Friends.

To celebrate the magic of Thomas & Friends’ storytelling, the three dads read aloud a story from the very first book up to current day stories to celebrate Thomas’ journey so far. Each of them have been captured on camera and the videos of the celebrities will be hosted on the official Thomas & Friends UK YouTube channel from today.

Musician and author Harry Judd will be seen re-telling the first story to feature Thomas titled “Thomas the Tank Engine”; TV personality and Performer, Peter Andre continues with his take on the action-packed story “Thomas and the Dinosaurs” and TV personality and entrepreneur, Spencer Matthews will conclude with the celebratory story “Happy Birthday!”



“Reading with Friends” is designed to highlight the exciting and heart-warming tales featuring important life lessons for children that have remained at the heart of Thomas & Friends, since the books were first created in 1945, when the first “Railway Series” written by Reverend W. Awdry was published.

On taking part in the digital storytelling series, Peter Andre said, “When I was approached about Reading with Friends, it made perfect sense especially as I voiced the character of Ace in the Thomas & Friends movie; Big World! Big Adventures! My son Theo, who’s three, is obsessed with Thomas, and I love all of the characters too.”



Spencer Matthews said, “I loved being able to come up with the different character voices for Reading with Friends. I grew up with Thomas & Friends and my son Theo, who’s now 16-months-old, loves the books and the toys.”



Musician and Author, Harry Judd best-known for being in McFly added, “Thomas & Friends is a global phenomenon and I loved reading the very first Thomas story.  It’s been so lovely to introduce Kit to the books as Thomas was such a big part of my childhood. He’s now a big fan! Happy Birthday Thomas & Friends!”

The series of three videos are available on the Thomas & Friends UK YouTube channel from today. In its special 75th anniversary year in 2020, Thomas & Friends will be celebrating its strong storytelling and highlighting how even after 75 years no-one else does this better than Thomas & Friends!

The celebrations are not just happening in the UK. Fans around the world will be able to join in celebrating Thomas' storytelling heritage in lots of different ways. The world’s most famous No.1 Blue Engine will be exciting fans with a wide range of activities including brand new content, special anniversary moments at live events and attractions, new engaging apps, gaming and new music.



About Mattel
Mattel is a leading global children’s entertainment company that specializes in design and production of quality toys and consumer products. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic franchises, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl®, Fisher-Price®, Thomas & Friends® and MEGA®, as well as other popular brands that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 40 locations and sell products in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and technology companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in exploring the wonder of childhood and empowering kids to reach their full potential.

About Thomas & Friends 75th Anniversary celebrations
In 1945, a father read bedtime stories to his child. He told stories of the trains outside the window and engines that talked to each other as they worked about the rail yard. For nearly 75 years, those trains and their stories were brought to life in books, on screen and in product for millions of children, to become the #1 preschool train property worldwide. Thomas & Friends is a brand rooted in life lessons, friendship and teamwork that has cultivated fan love across generations of families. With constantly evolving content and more ways to reach these fans than ever before, we invite you all to celebrate the 75th Brand Anniversary with us in 2020. The iconic blue engine was created 75 years ago by Rev. Awdry as stories for his son, Christopher. Today, Thomas is just as beloved by children as he was when he first chugged down the tracks in 1945. Through storylines full of wonder and curiosity, Thomas & Friends introduces children to the world around them, providing a trusted friend for adventure and discovery in a safe and nurturing way. In 2018 Thomas & Friends was refreshed with the iconic blue engine travelling around the world for the first time, embarking on exciting adventures and meeting new international friends. Throughout 2020 Thomas & Friends 75th Anniversary will be celebrated around the world, exciting fans with activity including brand new content, special anniversary activities at live events and attractions, new engaging apps and gaming and brand-new music. The award-winning brand franchise, Thomas & Friends, sells 1 toy every 2 seconds and is enjoyed by families in 180 territories and over 55 languages across multiple touch-points and formats, including: 500+ original TV shows, 12 feature-length films, apps, toys, consumer products, publishing, live attractions and much more.



Thomas & Friends 75th Anniversary Timeline

A chronological look at 75 years of Thomas & Friends, from its inception through to the modern day.

• 1945 - The first Thomas & Friends book is published - The Three Railway Engines

• 1946 - We meet Thomas! The most famous of Wilbert’s engines arrives in the 2nd book of the series – Thomas the Tank Engine.

• 1950 - This Island of Sodor is “discovered” after Awdry visits the Isle of Man and takes inspiration from the island’s history.

• 1957 - Model cardboard kits are released alongside the book series and allow fans to make realistic models of the engines.

• 1965 - Meccano releases a train set featuring a clockwork model of Percy with some trucks and blue plastic track.

• 1979 - While filming a documentary on a preserved railway, Britt Allcroft rediscovers the tales of Thomas & Friends and is inspired to bring the stories to TV.

• 1984 - Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, a new animated series, makes its broadcast debut on ITV in the UK and enjoys instant success, attracting an audience of 8.5 million children and adults.

• 1984 - A special voice hops aboard as former Beatle, Ringo Starr, joins the TV series – the first of many famous storytellers.

• 1989 - Next stop, America! Thomas pulls into the USA and debuts on PBS as a part of the program, Shining Time Station.

• 1990 – The first Friends of Thomas live event is held in the UK.

• 1991 – George Carlin the five-time Grammy-winning American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor, producer, writer and author was chosen to voice the series of the US version of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends on Shining Time Station.

• 1991 - Japan is the next international stop for Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.

• 1995 – Thomas & Friends celebrates a 50-year anniversary with a special collection of stamps and a golden engine by ERTL.

• 1996 - The first Day Out With Thomas family events take place in Wisconsin, USA.

• 1996 - Thomas launches his very own website –, which is now

• 1998 - The first Thomas & Friends theme park, Thomas Land, opens at Fuji-Q Highland Theme Park in Japan.

• 1998 – Actor, Alec Baldwin, lends his voice to the US series.

• 2000 - The first feature- length film rolls into movie theatres worldwide with “Thomas and the Magic Railroad”.

• 2002 - Thomas & Friends The Big Live Tour, the first of many stage shows, visits cities around the UK and then the world.

• 2003 - ‘Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends’ series becomes ‘Thomas & Friends’ and a new theme tune was introduced the following series.

• 2003 – American actor Michael Brandon becomes the narrator of Thomas & Friends in the US.

• 2005 – Thomas & Friends celebrates its 60th Anniversary.

• 2007 - Thomas Town, the first US theme park attraction, opens at Six Flags in both San Francisco and New England. Thomas Land, a brand-new theme park featuring 12-themed rides, opens at Drayton Manor in the UK.

• 2008 –Actor Pierce Bronson lends his voice as guest narrator for “Thomas & Friends: The Great Discovery”.

• 2009 – The production of Thomas & Friends content switches to full CGI animation.

• 2010 - The next generation of Thomas & Friends toys are revealed by new toy partners Fisher-Price and Mega Blocks. Thomas & Friends comes to mobile devices with the first app launch. The first Thomas & Friends e-books are developed by Random House.

• 2010 Thomas & friends celebrates its 65th Anniversary.

• 2012 - Thomas & Friends is acquired by Mattel, Inc.

• 2014 - BAFTA and Oscar winner Oliva Colman lends her voice to Thomas & Friends special “Thomas & Friends: Tale of The Brave”.

• 2015 - Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and English actors Jamie Campbell Bower and Sir John Hurt are other famous voices to appear in Thomas & Friends. They appear in the movie “Thomas & Friend: Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure”.

• 2016 - Indian actress and model Tina Desai lends her voice to the movie “Thomas & Friend: The Great Race” as the engine ‘Ashima of India’. The first time Thomas had been paired with a strong female lead character. There was also an expansion of international engines in this film including – ‘Raul of Brazil’ and ‘Gina of Italy’.

• 2018 – Thomas & Friends undergoes the biggest transformation in its history, including a new theme tune and refreshed Steam Team!

• 2018 - In the movie and TV series “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures” Thomas travels further than ever before across five continents, visiting countries including Tanzania, Australia, Brazil, USA and China.

• 2018 – Thomas & Friends partners with the United Nations, incorporating five of the Sustainable Development Goals into content in a preschool way, inspiring the next generation of global citizens.

• 2020 - It is the 75th Anniversary of Thomas & Friends with celebrations including a new Thomas & Friends birthday album, a birthday tour in the US and lots of exciting new content!

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